The coronavirus crisis is changing many things in our daily lives. We have already modified behaviors such as keeping a safe distance or washing our hands repeatedly, but many others still do not occur. Recycling should be one of the habits to consider now that we have time And besides, the planet needs it more than ever.
A few weeks ago we talked about the dark side of wearing masks and the serious environmental repercussions that this pandemic can generate. Despite being secondary damage, it is still serious, since since May 20 they are mandatory for the entire population, consequently millions of them will be discarded.
There is a big problem in identifying how and where to dispose of this type of waste, and that is that, as pointed out in its latest report, Ecoembe, it has been registered a rebound in the inquiries you receive about recycling. In the last month, it has received 43.500 consultations, 45% more than in previous months, most of them related to waste generated by the coronavirus crisis.
LIBERA, an association that was born to Improving and expanding the existing knowledge about the abandonment of waste in nature and its impact on the environment reminds us of the importance of all this. Sara Güemes, Ecoembes coordinator of the LIBERA Project: "In the current circumstances we must insist on a very clear message: Gloves, masks and other protective materials should always go to the gray container, never the yellow one. Just like the garbage generated in a house with an infected member: always gray. And in the rest of homes, keep recycling as always"He points out.
What should we do?
For a good recycling of the waste it is necessary to separate both the masks and the gloves from the rest of the garbage, always in this way:
You should put the mask and gloves in a plastic bag, and immediately put it in a second garbage bag, well insulated from everything.
Once in the double bag, neither the toilet nor the floor is thrown. It will be deposited as long as it is tightly closed in the household garbage can, with a lid.
Once the bag is filled, it will be 'exclusively' deposited in the gray container on the street.
It is strictly prohibited to deposit it in the separate collection containers of any of the fractions (organic, packaging, paper, glass or textile). Obviously you can't throw it out on the street.
Remember that latex or nitrile gloves are not containers or bottles, therefore they should never be placed in the yellow container.
Therefore it is clear, you have to throw them in the waste container, the one with the habitual garbage, not the brown of organic remains or the yellow of packaging. It is the correct way so that they can be treated and do not pose a serious environmental problem. Likewise, if the gloves and masks come from sick people, they must go in two closed garbage bags before throwing them in the waste container.
Natacha Payà, environmental expert at Meteored, warns us:"In the Soko Islands of Hong Kong, a lot of masks and gloves have appeared on the beaches of the misuse that is being made "."The virus can stay up to 7 days on the outside of your mask ", Payà explains, so, even without the person carrying it being infected, Bad recycling can cause contagion problems.
It is clear that in the situation we are living in, recycling is essential, but even more important is to separate the masks from the rest of the garbage, dispose of them properly and take responsibility for depositing them in the appropriate container. For the good of our society and that of our planet.